Many people who want to correct minor imperfections in their teeth choose Invisalign over traditional braces. This orthodontic alternative skips the wires and brackets and corrects teeth through a series of clear retainers that shape your teeth over time. One of the biggest draws to using this method over traditional braces is that it’s difficult to tell someone is wearing it. It can also be a quicker solution than traditional braces when correcting minor issues like crooked teeth and gaps.
People often ask about the cost of Invisalign, or how long they’ll need to wear Invisalign for, but one of the questions they should be asking is how to keep their aligners clean. Why? Because if your clear aligners become stained, it has a profound effect on the look of your smile. The “invisible” treatment you selected will be visible to all. Until you can switch to the next tray of aligners, you’re stuck with a stained set. In addition, stained aligner trays can also smell due to bacteria build up. With regular upkeep, you can keep your Invisalign trays clean so that they stay clear and don’t smell.
Here’s how to keep your Invisalign clean –
#1: Keep Your Teeth And Gums Clean
Taking great care of your teeth and gums is the foundation of keeping your Invisalign in the best possible condition. This is important to prevent bacteria from getting trapped in your aligner and causing issues like bad breath. If your teeth are dirty, then they are going to get Invisalign dirty too, since Invisalign fits directly on top of your teeth. Do your best to keep your teeth clean by brushing and flossing after each meal and at the beginning and end of each day.
#2: Clean Invisalign In The Morning
Your trays work the hardest at night when you don’t need to remove them during 8 hours of slumber, but they also collect bacteria during this time. Start every morning by cleaning your trays so that last night’s residue is gone and you start on a clean slate.
#3: Keep It Clean During The Day
This is the most challenging part of keeping your Invisalign clean because during the day you’re going to be periodically drinking or eating something. Making good choices for food and practicing regular care for your teeth and Invisalign during these interruptions in wear will make all the difference in how they look. Here are the main rules you need to follow during the day:
- Clean your aligners whenever you remove them. If you’re eating out, make a quick trip to the bathroom to rinse them and store them in their container. Leaving dry saliva and plaque on your Invisalign can breed smelly bacteria.
- Remove your aligners before drinking anything except water. Sugary or pigmented substances will stain your aligners or cause bacteria to grow.
- Do not eat while wearing Invisalign. Even though it is tempting to try and save time by leaving them in, they weren’t built tough like dentures and will break, get stained, or scratched.
- Don’t leave Invisalign exposed to the air. This exposes your aligners to bacteria around it. Keep them in their specified storage case to protect it wherever you go.
- Don’t use toothpaste to clean your aligners. Ironically, the abrasiveness of toothpaste can actually cause discoloration and surface damage that leads to a dull appearance.
- Brush and floss before reinserting Invisalign. If you’re pressed for time or in a situation where it isn’t convenient to brush your teeth after a meal, at least rinse out your aligners and mouth before reinserting Invisalign. Be sure to brush your teeth as soon as you can.
#4: Finish Strong with Great Night Care
You take your aligners on many adventures during the day. While you brush and floss your teeth, soak your aligners in a denture cleaner or the Invisalign brand cleaning crystals. Then, brush them gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to dislodge any residue that has built up during the day. Then, place it back in your mouth for another long night of restorative sleep. Remember, if you choose to have a late night snack after this routine, be sure to brush your teeth and rinse out your aligner once more before calling it a night.
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If you have more questions about Invisalign or any other dental services that we offer check out our post “Invisalign: Everything You Should Know“, or feel free to book a no-cost consultation with us to chat about your smile.